Telenet is already making extensive use of social media to communicate with customers. But like many companies, it has not used social media internally yet. Despite that, the company believes they provide an efficient communication method that should be used at the workplace. Telenet requested the help of Cegeka, its IT partner, to launch the project and ensure close involvement of employees from the start. Cegeka supported Telenet and created information sessions for employees.
“Our call center employees got the ball rolling”, says Claudia Poels, Senior VP Human Resources at Telenet. “They were asking if they could check their Facebook page at work. We thought about it and decided to allow them to do that. Social media are part of people’s day-to-day lives. Of course, we set a few ground rules, as we did not want to compromise our employees’ productivity. We now know productivity does not suffer at all. If you want to check productivity in detail, the call center is a good place to start. Waiting times, number of calls, etc. are all registered there. We can confirm that our people have continued doing their jobs just as efficiently as before.”
The yellow wire, the internal social media channel
Telenet wanted to go one step further, and use social media as a new professional channel for internal communication. “People are using social media much more for private purposes than at the company”, Claudia Poels says. “We want to reduce that gap. When I talk to other HR managers at a networking event, I find only a quarter of them allow Facebook or Twitter at work. Many companies have a quite traditional view on the matter. Despite that, it really generates added value, such as interactivity. That is why we really wanted to implement it.”
Following an internal study, Telenet launched “The Yellow Wire”, a new social media platform. “The application is actually called Socialcast, but we wanted to add a Telenet flavour”, says Claudia Pools. “Employees can use it to share experiences, ask questions, launch calls, etc. in an interactive manner. It has been a huge success: 2,000 of our 2,200 employees have a profile in the Yellow Wire. Of course, just as in other social media channels, 1% are posting proactively, 9% respond to them and 90% are just watching.”
Opening up new perspectives, more creativity and cooperation
The Yellow Wire has public and private groups. The public groups are interesting, since they allow communication across different departments. For instance, network engineers have their own public group. They can use it for example to report how they solved a specific new problem. That is much more fun and efficient than e-mail, since all responses are displayed together. Private groups are useful for project-based cooperation.
Claudia Poels believes the main benefit of this social media platform is that it offers a broad perspective and takes people out of their daily focus on their jobs: “It also stimulates them to consider what their colleagues are doing in other departments. Secondly, it drives creativity: everyone has an opinion about things outside of their jobs, which ensures a fresh look.
Thirdly, it stimulates mutual cooperation between colleagues. And it is a form of modernization, which we think is very important for an innovative company like ours.”
No off-the-shelf product
Telenet quickly made the decision to implement social media for internal communication, but they had no idea about how to start with it. That is why the cable network operator consulted Cegeka. “They were already providing certain IT services and we asked them if they could help us to develop this program”, Claudia Poels says. “The main aim was to convince our employees of the new way of working. They had to develop a custom program for us, no off-the-shelf product. So we sat down with them to clarify our requirements.”
Those conversations resulted in a dry-run and a few core users gave very open feedback. Telenet wanted to pay particular attention to specific items, as they fit into their company culture. Cegeka took their comments into account and developed three types of information sessions, no training: Telenet 2.0: The Connected Organization, Lync 2010: How to use! and Social Media “inside and outside”, a course about when to use which social media. The two-hour sessions were not mandatory, but we organized 26 in total.
“That is a success and provides a good basis for implementing certain things this year”, Claudia Poels says. “I am in favour of a step-by-step approach, so people remember it.
Cegeka thinks exactly the same. I can see three important similarities between Telenet and Cegeka: their customer orientation, their speed of project execution and their sense of innovation. The latter is supported by the fact that they use social media for their internal communication as well. So they seemed the ideal partner to develop the social media program for Telenet. And it has been a great success.”